March 07, 2021

Senior News Line: Getting the COVID vaccine

When can we get our COVID vaccine? Seniors everywhere are asking this question, and the answers are often vague, wrong or nonexistent.

Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, the vaccines will be given first to healthcare workers, then “frontline essential workers,” seniors in descending order of age and those with high-risk medical conditions. While getting the vaccine to healthcare workers hasn’t been much of a problem, scheduling seniors has been more problematic.

One of the snags has been with distribution. States often don’t know how many doses they’re going to receive, which has made it difficult to schedule people to be at the vaccine site at a certain time on a certain date.

A more serious problem came to light when batches of vaccine sent to various states were found to be defective because they hadn’t been kept at the right temperature along their journey from manufacturing to vaccination site. In one state, for example, out of 50 boxes of vials, 35 were found to be defective.

All over the country websites have crashed as people have tried to sign up for the vaccine in their area, and many seniors have found the computer program impossible to use.

Do you know how to get on the list to receive your vaccine? Do you know what group in your state is currently allowed to receive the vaccine, or what priority group you’re in? Each state has been allowed to decide what its definitions is for seniors — over 75, over 70 or over 65.

Your best bet is to contact your doctor’s office. Ask if they have a wait list or can tell you specifically what steps you should take. Call the hospital and your pharmacy. Call your state’s health department.

This is one time where you need to be proactive if you want the vaccine.

Matilda Charles

© 2021 King Features Synd., Inc.